I was like most kids, I enjoyed playing with other kids, and we all had bikes. Back then it was just for fun and we would constantly challenge ourselves to do more and more silly things on our bikes in the pursuit of excitement and entertainment. I vividly remember my father taking me to buy what I consider to be my first proper bike. We lived near Bromley and I had just passed my 11+, so as a reward I was treated to a new bike. We went to a bike shop in Bromley South, which sadly is not there anymore, and I chose an Eddy Merckx racer; to me it was the best thing ever. I pretty much rode that bike everyday through secondary school, so god knows how many miles it covered, but as soon as I was old enough I ditched the bike for a car, and there ended my cycling for many years.
I don’t really know why I didn’t cycle any more as I had enjoyed it for many years previously, but I didn’t. My obsession with cars had taken over and 4 wheels and an engine ruled. For many more years I was happy sitting in my tin box, but then I started working for a well known supermarket in the London Area. Each day I would sit in my isolation watching cyclists ride past whilst I was stuck moving at a snails pace. I had considered using public transport but it seemed to costly and inconvenient to get to to where I needed to go. So each day I would sit there, my stress levels steadily rising, watching these cyclist go past; I would never see them again until the next day . After several weeks of this, I felt myself hating my job, hating traffic, hating my car and hating myself.
I was now about 40, unfit, and stressed, but the question kept bugging me…could I cycle my journey to work. It was about 7 miles each way, through traffic and busy London roads, and I didn’t even have a bike now. But that question had to be answered. My brother had a reasonable bike in his shed which he didn’t much use, so with very little persuading it was mine on loan. I remember the first day I tackled the route, completely unsure whether I could do it or not. I left plenty of time, dressed in some sporty attire and packed my work clothes in a rucksack. Don’t know why I left so much time because I arrived at work 15 minutes earlier than if I had gone by car and 45 mins if I had gone by public transport! I felt exhilarated, if not a little physically tired, and very proud of myself for doing it. From that moment on cycling re-entered my life and will forever stay. Although I still have a car, I do question why considering how little it is used. I am not a competitive cyclist and I only possess small amounts of lycra, but I do enjoy a long ride on a sunny day. Mostly i ride those shorter journeys that are actually more convenient by bike. The bike takes you door to door, doesn’t cost you anything, gets you there faster, and makes you feel good about yourself too.
I also have found that cycling is very social and inclusive, all you need is a bike. I would recommend it to anyone.